The pÜnk Bookshop
The pÜnk was located down a quite alley in the entertainment district. It was at once cosy yet spacious; rows and rows of bookshelves that reached to the ceiling, the lines punctuated with little tables and club chairs where customers could sit and browse potential purchases before cashing out. A coffee machine offered a bottomless cup of coffee to those who loitered in the chairs, while the rich smell from the hot chocolate machine tempted customers in the winter months.
The pÜnk offered an eclectic range of second hand books that drew me back repeatedly. Whether ones interest lay in photography or parenting, you could be sure to find a gem. My particular interest that day was in all things related to sexuality and gender. I had picked out an old edition of ‘Love without Fear’ by Eustace Chesser which brought back stimulating memories. I recalled poring over pictures from this book as an adolescent; I had found a copy in the bedside table next to my parent’s bed, and was fascinated and aroused by the images and descriptions.
I was ensconced in a relatively private corner, sipping my hot chocolate and flipping through the pages of the sex manual; a copy of ‘The Pearl’, another of my fabulous finds of the day, lay on the table besides me, when the shop’s owner, Sandy, approached. Like her shop, she seemed to be the embodiment of contradiction. She was at once butch yet femme, tomboyish yet graceful. She reminded me of the female singer LiCK, sporting a platinum blond mohawk with rainbow highlights, dramatic green eye shadow, bright red lips that glowed against her peaches and cream complexion. There was assertiveness to her manner that I found disconcerting yet appealing, an inquisitiveness that was prying yet familiar.
I loved LiCK’s music! Songs of love sung to lilting melodies that made me want to sing along and cry at the same time; inspiring lyrics of hope sung with a repetitive urgent tone that motivated me; songs of rebellion sung with such spunk that they lifted any cloud, making me laugh and smile. Her voice went from plaintive and sweet to harsh and abrasive; something for every mood. Sandy not only looked like LiCK, but sounded like her – and she had the same affect on me! I lusted after her presence though I never approached her for it, fantasized of a relationship where she controlled me with the same mix of emotion that the music did. Was it just a coincidence, I wondered sometimes, if her shop’s name was so similar to that of the singer?
Two young ladies browsed the shelf together near me; it was the Lesbian Lit section and I made the predictable assumption regarding their relationship. They watched as Sandy sat down next to me and I had no doubt that their ears were pricked up; Sandy was not known for beating around the bush.
“Interesting choice today, Val” she commented.
Her eyes took in the rather staid sex-guide I was reading and then flitted across to ‘The Pearl’, where they lingered. She looked back at me, staring right into my eyes.
“Different ends of the spectrum, I must say!” she continued, “…and you started with that vanilla piece of garbage!”
I felt myself flush; I was not used to public appraisals, and to compound it, those two lesbian lovers were lurking a few feet away, their antennas up and their ears tuned in.
“Well, ‘Love Without Fear’ is a classic!” I tried to defend myself. “You know, Chesser was arrested for obscenity when it was published?” I had read that they had only sold 5,000 copies before being withdrawn, yet this now seemed a pretty lame argument.
“It’s so vanilla! If you want a classic, you would do much better to start with ‘The Pearl’. There are some delicious episodes of birching and swishing in it.”
Sandy paused to reflect.
“They could at least get you into some state of arousal as a reward for your reading efforts,” she pronounced.
I felt her eyes boring into me and my cheeks felt as if they were burning.
Sandy was on a roll, as only Sandy could be.
“Have you ever been swished, Val?”
I wished that she would keep her voice down! The lesbians seemed to have moved closer, not further away!
“I beg your pardon? Swished? What do you mean?” My voice seemed husky and coarse.
“Spanked, strapped, caned? Any of those things! Been over anyone’s knee? Been tied face down to you bed and had your bottom warmed? Bent over a chair and had it belted?”
I shrank into my chair; I had dreamed of all of those things, but done them?
“No, Sandy, I have not been swished,” I whispered
Sandy pulled herself out of her chair, and made a great show of looking at her watch.
“I am closing the shop in half an hour, Val. Enjoy your reading; I suggest you start on ‘The Pearl’ to see how it will be. I will be back to collect you here at five, at which stage you will learn first hand about what a swishing is all about.”
It was so typical of Sandy; no argument expected, not a thought that her wishes might not be respected. She bustled off back to her till at the front of the shop, leaving me feeling flustered and a little overwhelmed; the lesbians drifted off chattering inaudibly, throwing an occasional glance over their shoulders my way.
I felt like a marked sacrifice; there was little I could do to affect the inevitable. I have to admit that I put Chesser down and picked up ‘The Pearl’ and while I couldn’t concentrate, as I flicked through the old pages and picked out juicy passages to read, I felt my level of arousal grow at the same rate as my level of apprehension.
I knew it was closing time when I noticed the lights in the front section of the shop dim. I saw Sandy disappear into a storage room, and moments later, she was walking down the aisle towards me. My eyes were riveted on what she held in her hand: it looked like a slim, black cane, curved handle and all! I noticed with trepidation that she had a short leather strap in her other, the dreaded tawse.
“Stand up, sweet-pea! Where do you think you are….a café?”
There was menace in her voice; this wasn’t the Sandy that I knew; she was in role and it terrified and excited me.
Never has a club chair felt so low. I felt awkward and clumsy as I struggled to my feet, the copy of ‘The Pearl’ still in my hands.
“Put that down and hold out your hands…..palms up!”
I felt dazed, but complied automatically; I never was good at resisting authority.
My hands were barely out in front of me before I felt the tawse crack into the palm of my right hand. The pain was incredible, yet it was the tails that made me yelp. They crept up over the palm and bit into the tender flesh of my inner wrist, sparking a furious blaze of fire that I thought could never be quenched. I barely had time to jerk my hand away before the tawse flashed again, igniting that same terrible storm on my left hand.
I felt dazed, surprised and unsure how to cope. I shook my hands frantically, tucked them under my arms, rubbed them on my blouse, blew on them in vain.
“Now pick up that magazine and show me which scene excited you most.”
Sandy had strapped my hands and now wanted to probe my mind; expected me to disclose my most innermost feelings.
I hesitated a moment too long. With incredible speed, I watched paralyzed as she lifted the cane and flicked it. A streak of fire burned its way across the back of my calves. I hopped frantically in reaction, listening to the tap of my heels on the floor. I was stunned and felt out of my depth.
“The magazine, Val. Remember, you were just about to show me what had caught your interest?”
I looked at her blankly, in shock, but the sight of her raising the cane again galvanized me into action. I reached over and picked up ‘The Pearl’ and started to flick through the pages. The pain in my hands had started to slowly ebb away, but my fingers felt swollen and rubbery. Clumsily I turned the pages, trying to remember what I had read, desperately searching for a few words that spoke of birching or switching. My mind was blank and I knew I was not performing.
Sandy watched me, an amused look appearing on her face, her luscious red lips twisting into a sardonic grin.
“Having difficulty, sweet-pea? But I assume something did manage to get you aroused?”
She looked down to the chair that I had been sitting in; I followed her stare. The marks of my arousal were blatantly evident on the shiny, vinyl surface; marks that were now marks of my shame. I would have dropped though the floor gladly if it had opened up to swallow me; I felt ashamed and embarrassed.
“Not a nice thing to leave in a public place, is it?” Sandy was persistent; why wouldn’t she just let it go?
Sandy took hold of my upper arm. It was the first physical contact I had had from her, but I was too dazed to register. She swung me around and pushed my hand down to grasp the chair arm-rest. I didn’t need to be told what to do or what was coming; I reached forward and held the other rest with my other throbbing hand, shuffled my feet back a few feet, and bent over at the waist.
Ever so slowly, Sandy rolled my skirt up my back; it seemed to take for ever. My panties were pulled down more rapidly; a smart slap on the back of each calf had me lifting my feet so that she could pick my underwear off the floor. They were dropped onto the seat of the chair that I was now staring at so intently; stained white panties, stained red vinyl seat. I looked down at my disgrace and knew why I was about to be punished.
The whip of that flicky cane caught me by surprise. I should have been prepared for it, but I wasn’t. There was no tapping of my bottom as I had seen them do it in the video clips, no practice flicks of the cane. I didn’t hear it coming; I didn’t hear that so-called ‘swoosh’ through the air. What I did feel was an awful stroke that set my bottom on fire, the waves of pain building up to an inferno. I sprang up straight, my swollen fingers trying to massage the pain away, my yelps startling even me.
Sandy gave me no respite; she pushed me back over and with minimal fuss this time, pulled my skirt back up. She held her hand in the small of my back to prevent me rising and with the limited ability she now had to swing, she delivered a series of short sharp cuts with her whippy little cane that sucked the last of the breath from my lungs.
“It’s all over now pet….stand up and give me a hug.”
I couldn’t believe my ears! I rose up stiffly and felt her arms wrap around me. I lowered my head onto her shoulder and wept. Despite my tears and my throbbing backside, it felt wonderful to just stand there, enveloped in the safety of her arms, intoxicated by her spicy scent. Her hands gently stroked my hair; her warm, chocolaty breath caressed my shoulders.
We stood like that for an eternity, and when we pulled away, there was a different look on her face; she was no longer the disciplinarian, but rather the romantic. Her eyes were compassionate; her lips were parted slightly in an erotic invitation. I leaned in to them, and as we kissed, I felt the heat in my bottom spread to between my legs. I pushed myself against her thigh, and felt no resistance as she too leaned forward to close any gaps.
We left The pÜnk that evening, hand in hand, and found our way down to a cozy pub. Red wines, a roaring fire, toasted marshmallows. It was the start of a fabulous relationship that saw me making my way each evening to her bookshop at closing time to explore the many scenes hiding in the books on her shelves.
Every now and again, I see that lesbian couple and I smirk; for I am sure that I have it better than they do!